After weeks of testimony, plaintiffs failed to convince the jurors that the cigarette manufacturers hid the dangers from consumers and failed to act on known safety steps.
Attorney Kenneth McClain asked them, "How many have to die before they admit they are not safe? All of them?"
But Furr countered in his closing, saying the risks of illness and early death were clear in major media reporting, and smokers knew it.
Furr said, "I'll be a little surprised if any of those remaining claims are even pursued. It would be extremely difficult for any plaintiff to demonstrate any cause or relationship with those cigarettes."
Furr, a Charleston native who now practices in Winston-Salem, N.C., also represented tobacco companies in the medical monitoring phase of the tobacco litigation that was tried in Wheeling. That was also a complete defense verdict - the jury decided the companies were not liable for medical testing of affected smokers.
Murray Garnick, speaking on behalf of Philip Morris, said, "Although we disagree with the jury's verdict on this narrow claim, in the event that any plaintiff chooses to pursue this claim, PM USA has strong defenses."
He said, "We believe that the jury appropriately rejected the plaintiffs' claims for design defect, negligence, failure to warn, breach of warranty and concealment and refused to find that any of PM USA's conduct warranted punitive damages."
Contact writer Cheryl Caswell at cher...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4832.